Monday, April 19, 2010

Let me essssplain

Dear readers (all three of you):

Let me assure you that my life has not been and is not currently consumed with sadness. I am ok. Really.

I am generally a happy person. But even happy people have times of solemn introspection, which is sometimes painful.

April, I feel, has been a month of chaos. And I've spent a quite a bit of time thinking.

I stopped keeping a personal written journal several years ago as an attempt to keep my somewhat "revisionist" personal history up-beat. I'd been vigilant, up to that point, about writing in a journal and have several volumes from my high school and college years that are mostly funny and happy. Once they stopped being funny, or even had some semblance of happiness among the pages, I stopped writing because I no longer was writing anything I wanted to re-read.

So this blog is happy for the most part, but sometimes, as is wont to happen to everyone, I get sad. So sue me (I've got good representation!). And because I sometimes need to just write to get it out, and to help make sense of things, I write it here. For better or worse (probably just for worse), you three readers choose to read my soul's complaints.

My apologies.

Well, with that having been typed, here it goes.

On the Thursday prior to Easter weekend, my Papa (paternal grandfather) had a massive heart attack. I got the message at work during lunch from my Mom (who discussed it with me in her I-have-a-brave-face-on-but-I'm-still-worried-out-of-my-mind voice). No. No. I'm not ready for this. I know he's 80, but no. No!

I'm very close to my Papa. He's quiet, but he's a great conversationalist. He helped me with my French homework. We saw L'invalide Imaginaire together in Paris. He rescued Blake and me after we were locked out of my parents' house following our reception. He walks me through the possibilities whenever I've called him with a medical question. He's patient with me. He (and my Grandy) took me out to dinner on my 16th birthday when my parents were away. He's always on my side. He borrowed my Linguistics textbooks from me in college because he found them interesting just like I did. He's a perfect grandfather.

After three very tenuous days spent wearing through my cell phone battery at warp-speed, things started looking up. And up. And up. And last week my Papa bought himself a new Prius. So it doesn't look like he's planning to go anywhere anytime soon.

But that still left me with a taste (albeit a brief one) of the pain it would be to lose a family member. It hurts. A lot. And I don't like it. And I'll never be prepared for it.

And around this time I found out that two of my colleagues at work would be taking leave to get treatment for cancer. And one would be out getting surgery on her spine.

And a family friend passed away, leaving behind a grieving wife and kids (he was older, but it is still hard).

And then another friend passed away. He was just 40 and died of a massive heart attack in the middle of the night, leaving his wife and three young children in absolute shock. They had just invited us over for dinner two weeks before. And now he's gone. He was young and vibrant and happy and....and it was just about the saddest thing I've ever heard.

Then the Polish president's plane crashed in Russia. And my friend's father was on the plane. And it's just so public and so horrible. It was all just too much.

And yet here I sit, in my comfortable house with my just-so-close-to-perfect life, eating stale Easter candy, otherwise unaffected by the goings on. So I'm allowed to be introspective. You see what I mean?

But life is good. Great even. And --if you'll allow me to wax religious-- it's my firm (even firmer of late) knowledge of the Atonement and of the Resurrection, that allows me to find peace in all of this chaos. It doesn't make the enormity of the situations go away, but it does bring peace.


  1. Rough couple of weeks! It seems like that kind of stuff always happens in waves. I was pregnant at the same time as two other friends. One of the babies was born a month early with her jaw not formed, cleft palate and all kinds of other problems. They just gave her a feeding tube a few weeks ago, and she is still struggling to gain weight. The other friend's baby passed away just after her 5 month birthday. The doctors couldn't ever even figure out what was wrong with her. Then a little boy in our playgroup passed away a couple months ago from bacterial meningitis which he got out of nowhere. I saw him the day before he got sick, and he was gone in 5 days. It is rough sometimes. But you're right that faith in the Atonement and Resurrection at least brings some peace, even if the sadness is still there.

    On an unrelated, and very happy note, there isn't a chance you will be out here for Meg's wedding, is there?

  2. I've been thinking about something lately that you touch on through your post. For some reason, we trick ourselves into thinking that we, as humans, can feel only one emotion at a time. But I think what makes us human is our ability to feel a spectrum of emotions all at the same time. You can be happy and content but still feel grief.

  3. Exactly, Micah. You said it much better than I could.

    The part that really catches me, though, is that it seems so wrong to feel content and happy and still feel grief at the same time. It makes me feel guilty...

  4. Turns out you have more than 3 readers ;) Sounds like the heart-breaking experiences that make someone contemplate the true meaning of life and also bring out an amazing amount of gratitude.

    Man, when it rains it pours, right? I'm sorry it has been so rough, especially with your grandpa. That makes me sad, too. He is the perfect grandpa. My prayers are with you and him!

    I, in fact, think you're one of the most cheerful people I know, especially when dealing with hard times. I think you, with your amazing attitude, should be able to express some sadness at times. More power to you.

  5. P.S. I agree with Micah, too. We are unique in that we can experience more than one emotion at one time, it's just hard to express it or sort it out sometimes.